Contributions of
islam to
Civilization
Bashar A. Shala
March 14, 2004
Human Civilization
• Collective sum of different
contributions throughout the ages.
• Usually led by dominant leading
cult...
Human Civilization
Exchange and development of knowledge,
an Islamic principle:
O mankind! We created you from a single pa...
Human Civilization
• No one culture has a
“monopoly” on civilization.
140 ‫آل عمران‬

ِ‫ل َ لِ ش ْ ل َ اَّ بوُ بوُ ل َ لِب...
Human Civilization

Western

Chinese

Greek

Islamic

Persian
Roman
Byzantine

Indian
Culture
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Language
Religions
Social Customs
Architecture
Science and Innovations
Cuisine
Transportation
Ind...
Islamic Influence on Western and
Modern Civilization
• Undeniable Contribution of Islamic Culture
on today’s daily living
...
Arabic Words
(Words introduced to English by Muslims)

• Coffee:
Etymology: Italian &
Turkish; Italian caffè,
from Turkish...
Arabic Words
Words introduced to English by Muslims

• Orange:
Etymology: Middle
English, from Middle
French, from Old
Pro...
Arabic Words
Words introduced to English by Muslims

• Soda:
•
Etymology: Italian, from
Arabic suwwAd, any of
several salt...
Arabic Words
Words introduced to English by Muslims

• Candy:
Etymology: Middle English
sugre candy, part translation
of M...
Arabic Words
Words introduced to English by Muslims

• Cotton:
Etymology: Middle English
coton, from Middle French,
from A...
Arabic Words
• Sofa:
Etymology: Arabic suffah
long bench
Arabic Words
• Alcohol: Etymology: New Latin, from Medieval Latin,
powdered antimony, from Old Spanish, from Arabic alkuhu...
Mathematics
• Arabic Numerals: 1,2,3,4,5...
• Use of “Zero” (from Arabic sifr)
• Algebra:
– Al-Khwarizmi (c.780-c.850)
– A...
ASTRONOMY
• The Astrolabe: It was used to chart
the precise time of sunrises and
sunsets, and to determine the period
for ...
NAVIGATION AND GEOGRAPHY
Al-Idrisi, a
twelfth century
scientist living in
Sicily.
Idrisi’s work was
considered the
best
ge...
NAVIGATION AND GEOGRAPHY
Ibn Battuta (1304-1369 CE), an Arab,
covered over seventy five thousand
miles.
His wanderings, ov...
MEDICINE
Muslims had many achievements in this
field including:
1) The use of anesthesia in surgery.
2) The cauterizing of...
MEDICINE
• Al-Razi “Rhazes” (c. 865-c. 930), : was the first
to diagnose smallpox and measles, to associate
these diseases...
MEDICINE
Ibn Sina (Avicenna) 980-1037
- Wrote a famous medical encyclopedia
in Arabic (Kanun) described every
known diseas...
MEDICINE
• Az-Zahrawi “Albucasis”
(died 1013)
• - Born in Spain
• - Known in Europe as Chief
of all surgeons.
• - His book...
Social Sciences
Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406)
- Father of modem sociology
- Did his work in Economy,
Anthropology and Political ...
PHYSICS
Ibn al Haytham (d 1039)
“Alhazen”
- Suggest the damming of
Nile River.
- Explain the rainbow
scientifically.
- Fou...
EDUCATION
• Bayt al Hikmah (House of Wisdom) was
the intellectual center and university
that translated hundreds of books ...
HORTICULTURE
• Peach, apricot, lemon and
orange trees were transplanted
in southern Europe by Muslim
soldiers.
• Olive was...
CUISINE
Crusaders carried spices
with them home from
Palestine to western
Europe. Rice, Sesame,
pepper, ginger, cloves,
me...
COSMETICS
• Perfumes, from
Roses and
Jasmines
• Kohl: eye shadow,
eye liner, mascara.
• Henna: hair dyes
• Body Oils
MUSIC
• Guitar: Al-’Ud
• Kanun: Prelude to the
Piano, which is two
Kanuns put together.

• Percussion.
ARCHITECTURE
ARCHITECTURE
ARCHITECTURE
ARCHITECTURE

Damascus
Cordoba
ARCHITECTURE

Al-Hambra
ARCHITECTURE

Istanbul
Crafts
• Fabrics: Silk, Damask.
• Glass: influenced the famous
Venetian Glass industry.
Transferred to Europe during the
C...
ART
Calligraphy
Religious Tolerance
• Human Rights, equality guaranteed by
religion. No ethnic or racial discrimination.
• Freedom of Reli...
Islamic Law
• Napoleon did recognize the superiority of the
Islamic (Shari'ah) Law - and did attempt to
implement this in ...
Quotations
• "I hope the time is not far off when I shall be

able to unite all the wise and educated men
of all the count...
Quotations
"From India to Spain, the brilliant civilization of
Islam flourished. What was lost to Christendom
at this time...
Quotations
"The Islamic teachings have left great traditions for
equitable and gentle dealings and behavior, and inspire
p...
Quotations
"If any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe
within the next hundred years, it could be I...
Islamic Principles that promoted
advancing Civilization
• Seeking knowledge continuously. “From
the cradle to the grave”
•...
Summary
• Islamic culture played an important and
undeniable role in advancing world civilization.
• Muslim carried the ci...
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Contributions of islam to civilization

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Contributions of islam to civilization

  1. 1. Contributions of islam to Civilization Bashar A. Shala March 14, 2004
  2. 2. Human Civilization • Collective sum of different contributions throughout the ages. • Usually led by dominant leading cultures at any certain point in history
  3. 3. Human Civilization Exchange and development of knowledge, an Islamic principle: O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (exchange knowledge). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full Knowledge and is well-acquainted with all things. َ ‫ل َ ل َ هُّ ل َ اَّ بوُ لِ اَّ ل َ ل َ ش ْ ل َ بوُ ش ْ لِ ش ْ ل َ ل َ و ٍ ل َبوُ ش ْ ل َ ل َ ل َ ل َ ش ْ ل َ بوُ ش ْ بوُ بوُ اً ل َ ل َ ل َ لِ ل‬ ‫• يئا أيهئا النئاس إنئا خلقنئاكم من ذكر وأنث ى وجعلنئاكم شعبوبئا وقبئائل‬ )13 ‫لتعئارفبوا إن أكرمكم عند الل أتقئاكم إن الل علميم خبمير ) الحجرات‬ ٌ ِ‫لِ ل َ ل َ ل َ بوُ لِ اَّ ل َ ش ْ ل َ ل َ بوُ ش ْ لِ ش ْ ل َ اَّ ل َ ش ْ ل َ بوُ ش ْ لِ اَّ اَّ ل َ ل‬ َ ‫ل‬ ِ‫ل‬
  4. 4. Human Civilization • No one culture has a “monopoly” on civilization. 140 ‫آل عمران‬ ِ‫ل َ لِ ش ْ ل َ اَّ بوُ بوُ ل َ لِبوُ ل َ ل َ ش ْ ل َ اَّ ل‬ ‫وتلك اليئام نداولهئا بمين النئاس‬ “..Such days (of varying fortunes) we give to people by turns..”
  5. 5. Human Civilization Western Chinese Greek Islamic Persian Roman Byzantine Indian
  6. 6. Culture • • • • • • • • Language Religions Social Customs Architecture Science and Innovations Cuisine Transportation Industry and Agriculture
  7. 7. Islamic Influence on Western and Modern Civilization • Undeniable Contribution of Islamic Culture on today’s daily living • Great contributions to Science. • Transfer and preservations of Civilization in the “Dark Ages” of Europe.
  8. 8. Arabic Words (Words introduced to English by Muslims) • Coffee: Etymology: Italian & Turkish; Italian caffè, from Turkish kahve, from Arabic qahwa • From Yemen • Best Coffee “Arabica”
  9. 9. Arabic Words Words introduced to English by Muslims • Orange: Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Old Provençal auranja, from Arabic nAranj, from Persian nArang, from Sanskrit nAranga orange tree • From Persia to Spain
  10. 10. Arabic Words Words introduced to English by Muslims • Soda: • Etymology: Italian, from Arabic suwwAd, any of several saltworts from the ashes of which sodium carbonate is obtained • Carbonated drinks started in the Arab world and Cola was brought by West African slaves to the South, the birth place of Coca-Cola
  11. 11. Arabic Words Words introduced to English by Muslims • Candy: Etymology: Middle English sugre candy, part translation of Middle French sucre candi, part translation of Old Italian zucchero candi, from zucchero sugar + Arabic qandI candied, from qand cane sugar • First Sugar Factory in Muslim Cypress Al-Quandi
  12. 12. Arabic Words Words introduced to English by Muslims • Cotton: Etymology: Middle English coton, from Middle French, from Arabic qutun Spanish: Algodon
  13. 13. Arabic Words • Sofa: Etymology: Arabic suffah long bench
  14. 14. Arabic Words • Alcohol: Etymology: New Latin, from Medieval Latin, powdered antimony, from Old Spanish, from Arabic alkuhul • Algebra: Etymology: Medieval Latin, from Arabic al-jabr, literally, the reduction • Algorithm: Etymology: alteration of Middle English algorisme, from Old French & Medieval Latin; Old French, from Medieval Latin algorismus, from Arabic alkhuwArizmi, from al-Khwarizmi fl A.D. 825 Arabian mathematician
  15. 15. Mathematics • Arabic Numerals: 1,2,3,4,5... • Use of “Zero” (from Arabic sifr) • Algebra: – Al-Khwarizmi (c.780-c.850) – Al-Karaji of Baghdad (953-c.1029) • Algorithm
  16. 16. ASTRONOMY • The Astrolabe: It was used to chart the precise time of sunrises and sunsets, and to determine the period for fasting during the month of Ramadan • Navigational tools: Compass and Astrolabe. Enabled long journey navigation. Eventually discovery of the new world. • Al-Biruni, discussed the possibility of the earth’s rotation on its own axis – a theory proven by Galileo six centuries later.
  17. 17. NAVIGATION AND GEOGRAPHY Al-Idrisi, a twelfth century scientist living in Sicily. Idrisi’s work was considered the best geographical guide of its time.
  18. 18. NAVIGATION AND GEOGRAPHY Ibn Battuta (1304-1369 CE), an Arab, covered over seventy five thousand miles. His wanderings, over a period of decades at a time, took him to Turkey, Bulgaria, Russia, Persia, and central Asia. He spent several years in India, and from there was appointed ambassador to the emperor of China. Ibn Battuta’s book, Rihla (journey), is filled with information on the politics, social conditions, and economics of the places he visited.
  19. 19. MEDICINE Muslims had many achievements in this field including: 1) The use of anesthesia in surgery. 2) The cauterizing of wounds. 3) The discovery that epidemics arise from contagion through touch and air.
  20. 20. MEDICINE • Al-Razi “Rhazes” (c. 865-c. 930), : was the first to diagnose smallpox and measles, to associate these diseases and others with human contamination. • His extensive medical treatise in nine volumes, "Hawi" was used as a textbook in the Sorbonne as late as 1395. • Promoted psychotherapy and warned patient of changing doctors. • Stressed importance of a balanced diet for good health. Built a hospital in Baghdad.
  21. 21. MEDICINE Ibn Sina (Avicenna) 980-1037 - Wrote a famous medical encyclopedia in Arabic (Kanun) described every known disease: Al-Kanun became the basic medical text in the west for five centuries - Mastered the natural sciences, mathematics, philosophy and law. - His major work includes both philosophy and medicine, and were fundamental contributions to the renaissance in Europe.
  22. 22. MEDICINE • Az-Zahrawi “Albucasis” (died 1013) • - Born in Spain • - Known in Europe as Chief of all surgeons. • - His books on medicine was used in Europe till 16th century. • - His writings illustrate the use of surgical instruments.
  23. 23. Social Sciences Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) - Father of modem sociology - Did his work in Economy, Anthropology and Political Science. - Al-Muqaddamah or Introduction: His book on the "Science of Civilization" was the greatest in studying the nature of society, and he proved the cause and effect pattern of events.
  24. 24. PHYSICS Ibn al Haytham (d 1039) “Alhazen” - Suggest the damming of Nile River. - Explain the rainbow scientifically. - Founder of optics. - Excellent studies on the reflection & refraction of light.
  25. 25. EDUCATION • Bayt al Hikmah (House of Wisdom) was the intellectual center and university that translated hundreds of books from all languages. • First known Universities in Damascus, Cordoba, Tunisia and Morocco.
  26. 26. HORTICULTURE • Peach, apricot, lemon and orange trees were transplanted in southern Europe by Muslim soldiers. • Olive was encouraged to grow in the sandy soil of Greece, Spain, and Sicily. • Coffee • Cotton
  27. 27. CUISINE Crusaders carried spices with them home from Palestine to western Europe. Rice, Sesame, pepper, ginger, cloves, melons and shallots, as well as dates, figs, oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits, were introduced into European cuisine via the Crusaders and the trade caravans of Eastern merchants.
  28. 28. COSMETICS • Perfumes, from Roses and Jasmines • Kohl: eye shadow, eye liner, mascara. • Henna: hair dyes • Body Oils
  29. 29. MUSIC • Guitar: Al-’Ud • Kanun: Prelude to the Piano, which is two Kanuns put together. • Percussion.
  30. 30. ARCHITECTURE
  31. 31. ARCHITECTURE
  32. 32. ARCHITECTURE
  33. 33. ARCHITECTURE Damascus Cordoba
  34. 34. ARCHITECTURE Al-Hambra
  35. 35. ARCHITECTURE Istanbul
  36. 36. Crafts • Fabrics: Silk, Damask. • Glass: influenced the famous Venetian Glass industry. Transferred to Europe during the Crusades. • Mosaic • Rugs
  37. 37. ART Calligraphy
  38. 38. Religious Tolerance • Human Rights, equality guaranteed by religion. No ethnic or racial discrimination. • Freedom of Religion (The Muslim world was the sanctuary for Jews during centuries of persecution)
  39. 39. Islamic Law • Napoleon did recognize the superiority of the Islamic (Shari'ah) Law - and did attempt to implement this in his Empire. Some aspects of the Islamic (Shari'ah) Law do currently exist in French constitution as the basis for some of their laws from the “Code Napoleone”, which is taken from the Shari'ah Law of Imam Malik." (David M. Pidcock, 1998 C.E.) • Further detailed accounts of this can be found in the book 'Napoleon And Islam' by C. Cherfils. ISBN: 967-61-0898-7
  40. 40. Quotations • "I hope the time is not far off when I shall be able to unite all the wise and educated men of all the countries and establish a uniform regime based on the principles of Qur'an which alone are true and which alone can lead men to happiness." Napolean Bonaparte (Napoleonic Code was based on Maliki School) • Napolean Bonaparte as Quoted in Christian Cherfils, ‘Bonaparte et Islam,’ Pedone Ed., Paris, France, 1914, pp. 105, 125. Original References: "Correspondence de Napoléon Ier Tome V pièce n° 4287 du 17/07/1799..."
  41. 41. Quotations "From India to Spain, the brilliant civilization of Islam flourished. What was lost to Christendom at this time was not lost to civilization, but quite the contrary... "To us it seems that West-European civilization is civilization, but this is a narrow view.“ Bertrand Russel in ‘History of Western Philosophy,’ London, 1948, p. 419.
  42. 42. Quotations "The Islamic teachings have left great traditions for equitable and gentle dealings and behavior, and inspire people with nobility and tolerance. These are human teachings of the highest order and at the same time practicable. These teachings brought into existence a society in which hard-heartedness and collective oppression and injustice were the least as compared with all other societies preceding it....Islam is replete with gentleness, courtesy, and fraternity.“ H.G. Wells
  43. 43. Quotations "If any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam." "I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him - the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an antiChrist, he must be called the Savior of Humanity." "I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.“ Sir George Bernard Shaw in 'The Genuine Islam,' Vol. 1, No. 8, 1936.
  44. 44. Islamic Principles that promoted advancing Civilization • Seeking knowledge continuously. “From the cradle to the grave” • Sincerity in performing work. • Always aspiring to achieve the best in whatever one does. • Justice and Equality.
  45. 45. Summary • Islamic culture played an important and undeniable role in advancing world civilization. • Muslim carried the civilization torch during the “Dark Ages”; preserved and advanced the treasure of culture and knowledge for humanity. • In all aspects of our daily lives, then – in our homes, offices and universities; in religion, philosophy, science and the arts – we are indebted to Muslim creativity, insight and scientific perseverance.

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